What Order Did The Alien Infect the Cast?

What Order Did The Alien Infect the Cast? ...

While Cinefantastique featured The Thing on one front cover alongside the question, is this the most hated film of all time when John Carpenters The Thing was released in June 1982?

Even if anything, the Thing has evolved into one of the most popular sci-fi horror movies of all time, which included everything from Stranger Things to Quentin Tarantino''s The Hateful Eight. To deduce Die Hard 2, there was simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the Carpenters sci-fi going alongside Blade Runner on June 25 of its year, just a few weeks after the family friendly alien fun of E.T.

Fortunately, The Thing, also like Blade Runner, continued to live through video rentals and countless cable and television broadcasts. For millions living in a previous world, there was something absolutely astounding about discovering the film on grainy VHS or late-night television.

Social media has done nothing to halt the fascination with the Carpenters film, spawning a prequel, comic book, video game, and board game. At a time when many prefer to look back rather than forward, The Thing represents the perfect time capsule of sci-fi horror movies. Rob Bottin, a body-horror special effects, is also aided by an American Werewolf in London.

The film success is based on the Bill Lancasters script, which was built on division and distrust as applicable today as it was back in 1982, but with a terrifyingly simple conceit: Who is The Thing?

The Thing, which based on a nightmarish riff on the whodunnit formula, was rather focused on a shape-shifting alien capable of assimilating and imitating its human hosts more than several times. Carpenter, for his credit, has kept his own counsel on the truth behind the countless claims that have surfaced over the years, and that has only pushed the viewer to realize that they are actually human by the end.

The Background and Cast of Suspects

At the start of the film, we are introduced to the 12-strong American team located at Outpost 31 in Antarctica. So our list of potential Thing victims is the following:

R.J. MacReady, senior biologist Dr. Blair (A. Wilford Brimley), assistant biologist Fuchs (Joel Polis), resident cook Nauls (T.K. Carter), assistant assistant mechanic Palmer (David Clennon), dog handler Clark (Richard Masur), station commander Garry (Donald Moffat) and radio operator Windows (Thomas G. Waites).

The following is a list of the theories and evidence on display, including when and who is assassinated.


Debate has long raged over the identity of the first of The Things victims, who is targeted during a disturbing sequence in which the alien skulks the corridors of the compound, fresh from having evaded the two crazed Norwegians who pursued it from their own camp.

For a moment, the creature pauses in the entrance of the injured Bennings room (he was accidentally shot by one of the Norwegians). Perhaps theorizing that the injured man poses less of a threat, the Dog-Thing prefers to leave another room.

The imitation canine is smuggled into a room where the silhouette of a person is visible against the door in the following dramatic picture. Palmer and Palmer have a straight toss-up, though both ends up being assimilated one way or the other.

Stuntman Dick Warlock was enlisted to perform as the silhouette for the scene, while Carpenter was keen to avoid the crowd''s attention as soon as possible. However, there is one strong visual clue as to the individual''s identity. Clearly, the silhouette is wearing a shirt with a protruding collar that matches the Norris shirt and turtleneck jumper.

Palmer is seen catching a new episode of the VHS quiz show Lets Make a Deal halfway through and telling Childs, how this one ends. Besides, he would have had no regrets seeing it before. However, he would have remained a fan of smoking weed and shares a spliff with Childs. What kind of effect would an alien have had on it, even if it had managed to?

Some fans have pointed to a later scene when Fuchs believes that it may only take one molecule of the alien to assimilate an entire organism as critical to tracing the path of the assimilations. Its why Fuchs recommend everybodys prepare their own meals and drinks, and only eat from sealed cans (thats important for later on). But Fuchs'' theory is clear. A Molecule-based assimilation is required for everyone to determine the path of the ass

Norris was the first assimilation of Bennings and the dogs suggests it is a relatively quick process, with the alien capable of producing nearly perfect copies of both in a matter of minutes. With Norris, it had almost an entire night.

It''s often noted that Norris-Thing goes on to accompany Mac and another of the crew to visit the alien ship. Some have cited this as proof that he has not been assimilated. However, at that point, the aliens'' primary purpose would have been to hide in plain sight in order to escape. However, by revealing themselves there and assimilating them, they would not only leave them unstranded with no one left to fly the helicopter back to Outpost 31.

Norris-Thing is the one who theorizes the ship for over 100,000 years. It''s almost as if he knew during the discovery of the ship.


The later memorable scene in which the Dog Thing reveals itself to the other canines, splitting in half and seemingly turning inside out while trying to absorb the other animals, sets in motion the events that will culminate with Palmer being assimilated.

When the alien is discovered, the camera intervenes with Childs torching much of the Dog-Things carcass. Even so, a portion of the creature does survive. It''s fair to say things get messy in one key exchange later, Nauls interrupts a conversation among the crew to reveal he discovered some dirty drawers in the kitchen trash. It''s probable that the clothing was damaged in an assimilation that has occurred off-screen.

Five actors are shown wearing matching long johns: Palmer, Copper, MacReady, and Blair. Nauls, Copper, and MacReady all pass the blood test, certifying they are human. So the shredded clothing belongs to either Blair or Palmer.

As the severity of their situation hits home, Blair remains perfectly human at the moment they are discovered. In a subsequent scene, an increasingly worried Blair is shown running probability scenarios. That leaves only one option: Palmer.


The Bennings-Thing is significant as the first confirmed transformation on the screen. Yet there is another crucial plot point in his assimilation.

When Bennings returns to Windows, he witnesses the Bennings-Thing in mid-transformation and audibly drops the keys. During the following day, the crew gather up all of the alien''s specimens to be destroyed.

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Later, when the crew discover their blood supplies have been destroyed, Garry becomes suspicious as the only one other than Copper having access to the keys. However, the sabotage occurred at some point when the keys were unaccounted for and implicated Palmer-Thing.

Palmer-Thing stretches back, barely stating a word, and every time keeping one headphone in his ear. Either they are trying to blend in, or are unaware of the pooth of listening to music at the time.


Realizing that no one can escape the station for the sake of humanity,Blairs destruction of the outposts vehicles and radio equipment prove beyond doubt that he is up to this point. It also seals his fate and puts into play another key plot point.

As eagle fans have noticed, during the moment when Blair leaves debris to the communications equipment, Palmer-Thing is strangely absent from the group as they attempt to combat Blair. That is because Palmer-Thing is likely to be busy putting the clothing to frame MacReady later. He wouldn''t have the tools to sabotage blood at this point, so was likely making plans to eliminate arguably the strongest member of the team.

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Blair is eventually placed in isolation in one of the main shacks after being assimilated by either Palmer-Thing or Norris-Thing who would have been able to return under the guidance of Blair. Alternatively, the remaining Dog-Thing might have found a way inside. However, the door to the shack was later discovered, leaving the inside open.

Carpenter appears to give a couple of clues to the possibility at which Blair is assimilated while in isolation. Earlier, Fuchs said everyone should eat canned food to combat infection. Secondly, when the Blair-Thing attacks and assimilates Garry, Blair appears to be making a reappearance. The same musical cue is also being used as a leitmotif to announce the Blair-Thing''s arrival in the two scenes. If so, he is likely to have

Some argue that Blair-Thing was able to work with MacReady, but in truth, he probably had his hands full stealing scrap for the ship later discovered under his shack. Instead, the Blair-Thing may have attacked Fuchs and tried to assimilate him, but Fuchs might slap himself on fire in order to avoid a worse fate.


When Windows is briefly assimilated, it is the beginning of the final. Clark has been mistakenly shot dead by MacReady; a victim of the brewing mistrust between the two that eventually sparked into violence after discovering the clothes intended to frame Mac.

Copper remained infected with bleeding, losing both his arms while raising a defibrillator on his Norris-Things chest, which suddenly snapped open before clamping down on doctors limbs in one of the film''s most powerful jumpscares.

Even then, the Palmer-Thing is still impeccably revealing and, seemingly, attempts to ingratiate himself with the survivors by pointing out the head of the Norris-Thing is making an escape with the classic line, which, you must be fucking kidding me. However, there are issues when the facade nears loose. Earlier, when MacReady was cut loose by Nauls outside in the snow after discovering the planted clothes bearing his name, the Palmer-Thing is at his

A playful smirk emerges soon in Palmer-Things'' head, bringing with it the demise and transformation of Windows.


Debate has long raged about the character''s chances, with the majority veering towards the possibility he has been assimilated, mainly after the often tight-lipped Carpenter said one of the two was no longer human by the end of the films, and there is little to suggest Mac was infected.

Childs is shown wearing a royal blue shirt while an identical jacket is seen in the vestibule. Some enthusiasts claim that his breath is barely noticeable, but there is also the debunked assumption that the whiskey Mac gives them at the end is from an unused molotov cocktail. Neither does Carpenter confirm the character''s demise in one particular way. It will likely happen just ahead of Mac''s final showdown with The Thing.

Nauls, who arrives at the tool shed with MacReady and Garry, discovers what appears to be Childs departing the main compound wearing the same jacket but lighter colored pants at this point. At this point, they discover Blair-Things shack is empty and he is now building a flying saucer, which confirms his interest as alien.

With Carpenter highlighting the close proximity of the generator, the action then switches back to the now-empty vestibul. Despite the crucial detail, the second blue jacket is now missing. Moments later, and with the Childs-Thing out in the open, the power is shortening.

Childs assumed he saw Blair in the snow, and he ran out following him, as he grew concerned, and he would be heading out into a snowstorm.

The most probable scenario is that the Blair-Thing found a way into the main compound, sneaked up on Childs from the generator room and assimilated him before covering his tracks, nning the new coat, and making an escape outside.

One further detail: At the end of the film, Childs appears to be wearing another lighter-colored jacket similar to Blair''s. While it might be easily the case that snow discolored his coat, it is worth noting that the Blair-Thing was dressed completely while he attacked Garry.


In the final showdown, Garry slips through the Blair-Thing, who drops his fingers into his face and is later seen draging a misshapen Garry into the dark. His distorted appearance would indicate he is in the process of being assassinated.


Nauls is never killed or assimilated on screen, with the character being instead shown walking off into the darkness having become distracted by something off-screen. However, the ambiguous nature of his fate was more a happy accident. He just left the job unpaid and on time.


The moment the returning Childs-Thing asks: Who is the only one who made it? MacReady replies as if reminding Childs-Thing he is also expected to be human.

While considering whether or not to kill him, Childs'' focus is concentrated on asking the rest of the team, rather than thinking, so that he may be optimistic. Some have pointed to Childs'' lack of visible breath as a visual indication of his status as the alien. Cundey, meanwhile, has previously described how a neat technique was developed into the film where a slight light is visible in the eyes of human beings.

However, it was also noted that this technique was only used in the blood test scene rather than the ending. Instead Childs-Thing gives the game away the moment MacReady gives him a bottle of whiskey. The second he stores it to his mouth, and MacReady starts laughing, realizing that he is the last person left.

This perspective on MacReady''s final line to Childs is new: why not wait here for a while, see what happens? Displaying the same jet-black humor that his character manifests, MacReady appears resigned to his fate, sarcastically waiting to see what happens.

Alternatively, one theory states that Mac gives Childs the whiskey with the intention of burning him with a flamethrower under his jacket (a flamethrower is mentioned in this scene in the script) Some have claimed that this outcome was even foreshadowed in the scene when Mac plays his check-mate. He wins by pouring whiskey into the computer, causing sparks to come out. Could the Thing be facing the same?

The small details and open-ended nature of affairs facilitates a variety of interpretations. The darkest being that, if Fuchs theory was true and assimilation might take place molecule by molecule, maybe everyone was slowly being infected and just didn''t know it yet.

There will not be any clear answer to The Thing, but there may be solutions that are correct.